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FoolOnTheHill February 13th, 2004 3:20 am

Tonight Is The Night
A small black rat ran desperately for his life, through bushes and trees and over the damp earth of the Forbidden Forest. A big shaggy black dog was on his tail, never losing sight or smell of the rat. The dog bounded over a fallen log, squeezed his way through two particularly close trees, getting closer and closer. He was growling and drooling, determined to catch his prey. The rat squeaked as it dodged a big rock; soon after the dog jumped over it. The rat was too small and the dog too fast. He was catching up.

Before the rat knew what was happening, the dog had pounced on him. The dog held the rat down with one paw and killed it instantly with the sharp claws of its other. The dog finally relaxed, panting from his long chase, and transformed into a man. He was dressed in filthy robes, and had long dark matted hair. His skin was waxy and stretched taut against the bones of his face. He grated his yellow teeth and his eyes shone darkly out of their sockets, staring at the rat. This man was Sirius Black.

Sirius sat on the floor of the dark forest and held the dead rat in his hand. He wished desperately that this rat was Peter. That traitor. The reason that he had been stuck in the worst prison imaginable for the last twelve years. But this rat was definitely not him. Peter, in his rat form, was bigger and a lighter color. No, this rat looked more like that disgusting pet rat old Snivellus Snape used to carry around. It was gangly and ugly, just like Snape, and just like that rat.

Snape. How he’d love to get him too. To flip him upside down and expose his underwear for all the world to see once again. To send him a nasty jinx, just one more time. To stick him in Azkaban. If anyone deserved to be wrongly sent there it was him.

Sirius held the rat up by the tail. He was sick of eating rats and other small animals to stay alive, but he had no choice. He turned back into a dog, tore apart the rat with his sharp teeth and ate it.

When he was done, Sirius turned back into his normal self and stood up to walk around the forest. He looked up at the forest ceiling and wondered, would tonight be the night? He reached into his pocket and made sure the knife was still there. He had found it there in the forest. It was amazing the things you could find in this place when you looked hard enough. Just the other day, he had found a Ford Anglia wandering around the forest by itself. Cars, in the Forbidden Forest? Who’d have thought. Sirius had gone through the trunk of the car and found an old mirror to keep, which had a couple big cracks going down the center. He reached in his pocket again and pulled it out. He stared at his reflection, the reflection that in his youth had been so attractive.

“You look as bad as you did yesterday, but a bit dirtier,” the mirror said in a deep silky voice. Soon after Sirius had found it, he had realized the mirror was able to talk. Every time he looked in it, it would comment on his appearance.

“Thanks,” Sirius said hoarsely and sarcastically. He put it back, and continued to walk. He only stopped when he had reached what was almost the edge of the forest. Sirius was close enough to see the castle of Hogwarts, but far enough to remain hidden. From here he could see that it was very dark, even out of the covering of the trees.

Sirius sat down on a soft patch of dirt and leaned against a tree trunk. He looked in the distance to the Quidditch pitch. He had listened to the match from this same spot earlier that day. Gryffindor had won against Ravenclaw, thanks to his godson Harry. He had been so proud as he watched Harry and his team lead the excited Gryffindors back to the castle. He had wished so badly that he could have congratulated him for winning, and for using the Firebolt broomstick Sirius had secretly sent him so well. But Harry, like everyone else, thought he was an insane murderer. Sirius didn’t even know if Harry knew he was his godfather. But one day he would explain everything. One day, Harry would love him, and one day, he would be free.

But first, he had to kill Peter.

“Where is that cat?” Sirius growled to himself, getting impatient.

As if Sirius had summoned him with this question, moments later a big fluffy orange feline came trotting into the forest, carrying a red balloon held by a gold ribbon in his mouth.

“Celebrating, were they?” Sirius said to the cat, patting it on the head. The cat purred, which he assumed meant yes.

“But they’re done now? They’ve gone to sleep? The coast is clear?” The cat meowed without opening his mouth all the way, so the balloon wouldn’t fly away. It looked as if he was saying yes again.

“Good kitty,” he said, scratching the cat behind the ears. It looked up at Sirius, as if it wanted to say something else to him.

“What is it?” Sirius asked. The cat tried to communicate through his meows and body language, but he was being so careful to hold on to the balloon that he was failing miserably. He laid down on the ground and started to act something out, but the balloon almost slipped and his pantomime was stopped midway.

“Usually you’re good at this. Just let go.” Sirius tried to take the balloon but the cat leapt away.

“Fine, I don’t have time to waste,” Sirius said harshly as he stood up. He pulled out a small piece of paper with many random words written on it, looked it over just to make sure it was still intact, and put it back in his pocket. He then pulled out his knife.

“Tonight is the night. Yes, Peter, tonight is your night.”

And as if to practice for the murder he was planning to commit, Sirius stabbed the cat’s balloon. It popped loudly and fell to the ground. The cat jumped and hissed at it. Sirius stuck the knife back in his pocket, turned once again in to the great black shaggy dog, and ran out of the forest towards Hogwarts castle.

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